Current Release: Everglades
Describe your current release in two sentences?
Kayli Heddon is a photojournalist who has come to the Everglades to work on an article that will help her uncle John, a politico who’s making the restoration of the Everglades one of his top priorities. She ends up stranded alone with her handsome and enigmatic Seminole airboat guide, Skye Landers, and quickly learns that trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass.
Please describe your writing environment.
I can write any time any place as long as I have a steno pad and a pen with me. I do have an office bedroom where most of the hardcore typing and editing occurs, but I have been known to write on airplanes, in cars, and even on a ferryboat.
What are you working on?
I'm working on final edits for my April release, One More Chance -- the story of a successful New York financial consultant who inherits her mother's dilapidated farm in rural West Virginia and one guardian angel. I'm also writing a contemporary/regency romance about the thirteenth Duke of Reston who falls into a fountain at his country estate in Hampshire and ends up back in the regency era in 1815 and is mistaken for the missing seventh Duke of Reston who could pass for his twin.
What do you feel blessed with?
Besides my personal Prince Charming, husband Patrick and biggest supporter, I suppose I am most blessed by having a vivid imagination. I always know which book to write next, too. When the story actually "hits home," the movie starts rolling in my head, and I have to spend a couple days speed-writing scene bullets while they are flying across my mental movie screen.
What was your childhood ambition?
Actually I wanted to be a zookeeper, hence the degree in Zoology. I have had a wonderful career in environmental sciences and don't regret my career choices as I couldn't have written my debut novel Everglades without them. I didn't even consider writing until about ten years ago when I briefly toyed with the idea of changing jobs. Instead, I stayed put and started writing novels and studying the publishing industry.
What is your favorite TV show?
Actually, I stopped watching TV about ten years ago, coincidentally with the beginning of my writing career. My TV time is limited to Orlando Magic games [I'm a huge fan] and movies here and there. My evenings are usually spent writing, typing, editing, marketing my released novel, and sending/reading emails. When I'm all done, I get my treat -- I get to read for a couple hours.
What career fields have you worked in?
I've been lucky and only worked in the environmental field, mostly as an aquatic biologist, and have been very happy in that field my entire career. Aquatic biology is a very diverse arena. I spent a number of years collecting and identifying macroinvertebrates -- aquatic insect larve that can give you a long-term picture of water quality based on their pollution tolerance levels. I know...yawn. But it's exciting investigative work to a biologist. :) I also surveyed invasive aquatic plants in lakes and streams by every type of floatable craft including airboats.
What are your plans for the summer? Any books you are looking forward to?
This summer I'm going to Disney World. Oh wait...I go there every day. I work at the happiest place on earth and have for most of my career. I do travel to Tennessee often as we have a second home in Crossville on the Cumberland Plateau where we hope to retire. As far as books I am looking forward to? I always have a fairly high stack of novels waiting to be read, and I get excited every time I finish one and get to go back to the stack and pick the next one. Like having my own little mini-bookstore in the bedroom. I have met few books I didn't like and will try most anything -- except horror and sci-fi.
How was your road to publication?
My road to publication was long and paved with rejection letters. My first four manuscripts were what I call "tweeners" -- stories that straddle genre lines and don't completely fit on either side of the line. Of course, I didn't know this at the time I wrote them. The stories each had an angel hidden in them, and the reader wouldn't find out who the angel was until the end. If I did my job right, I would fool the reader each time. "Tweeners" are a hard sell to agents and publishers however, as there are strict rules about genre lines and what will or won't fit into predetermined categories. One publisher had one of my angel stories and routed it to four different lines in the house: sweet romance, then paranormal, then inspirational, and finally romantic suspense -- which it wasn't and promptly got rejected.
Everglades was my fifth manscript, and I got lucky when Desert Breeze offered me a contract.
If you could time travel, where would you travel to and why?
That's a hard pick and a toss-up between the Scottish Highlands, say around the seventeenth century, and the ever popular regency era in England. I'd love to see the wild Highland mountains and countryside and of course a real Scottish laird in his kilt, though I doubt they'd let me tag along when they raided horses or cattle from their neighboring clans.
As for the regecy era, I would love to attend a ball in a Mayfair mansion to watch the goings on of the marriage mart against the backdrop of the rigid societal rules. Imagine being ruined just for kissing a handsome fellow in the library while the orchestra took a break.
If you could live in a world created by an author, which book / world would you jump into?
I would jump into the old south and Gone with the Wind, where a man's honor was of life-or-death importance and made him far more sexy than his looks.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to share my thoughts on writing and life in general. I'm looking forward to my November release, Catch of the Day, and I hope my readers are too. Stop by my web site and drop me a line sometime.